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This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Sun, May 9, 2010

By: The LACar Editorial Staff


Robert Downey Jr. HEAVY METAL RETURNS By John Grafman About two years ago we witnessed the birth of a superhero franchise. And this superhero loves super cars. How could we not fall in love with Iron Man? In Iron Man 2 the audience sees the team reunited for more adventure. And like Transformers 2, this is no less dynamic on the screen, especially in an IMAX theater. Also, like the giant robot picture, this sequel seems to shine a little less brightly than the original.


This movie has all the right elements, but this is falling into super hero cliché. Within a few minutes the cat’s out of the bag. This plot is well worn with the typical bad guy versus super hero with a love story thrown in on the side. Ah yes, and the happy ending, err, you know what I mean. Does this not sound like all of the other movies in this genre? There is indeed far more to this plot though. Maybe this is movie is a little commentary on the times in which we live, but Tony Stark is being pressured by big brother - the US government, the media, and the public to divulge his Iron Man technology to the defense industry. Mr. Stark doesn’t trust the government, and its ability to keep secret technology secret. Even if this doesn’t have the strongest of plots, this has so much going for it. Just the Oscar talent alone scores big points. Robert Downey Jr. is Iron Man! He so proudly says so in the film, but it isn’t just some glib screen writing. Robert really has made the character his own. Robert Downey Jr. is to Iron Man/Tony Stark what Sean Connery is to James Bond. Oh sure, in time there might be others that fill his shoes, but his portrayal will certainly be the benchmark. Robert put on twenty-plus pounds of hard earned muscle to come across as a super hero. So, not only will it be tough to fill his shoes, but also his shirt.


Mickey Rourke New to this episode is Mickey Rourke playing the part of mad Russian Ivan Vanko who is replicating some of Tony Stark’s technology. Mickey is looking tough in this role, albeit his physique and costume still says Wrestler. The other parts are rounded out by seasoned professionals like Don Cheadle, Samuel L. Jackson, and Sam Rockwell, plus the director, Jon Favreau gets some quality screen time too. The female roles are also cast effectively with Gwyneth Paltrow reprising her role as Pepper Potts, and Scarlett Johansson gets to show that she is more than just a pretty face in the part of Natalie Rushman/Natasha Romanoff. Scarlett spent weeks prior to filming with a private trainer preparing her for the demanding shots in this. While a body double is normally the course taken, Scarlett made the action sequences far more interesting by allowing he camera to shoot her from the front. While the movie is a tour-de-force of effects, the plot in Justin Theroux screenplay seems not just mundane, but is a bit unimaginative. Even Rourke’s character creates his instruments of destructions while being held behind bars, all too similar to Stark’s bio. But, Marvel Entertainment does have a comic book legacy to deal with, so there is always a need to be true to its roots and still work on the big screen.


Scarlet Johansson Stan Lee, along with Don Heck, Larry Lieber, and Jack Kirby are credited in the original creation of the comic book character. Stan playing a small onscreen role as himself in this release is the equivalent of the Underwriters Laboratories seal of approval. If this movie weren’t up to snuff in his mind, I wouldn’t expect Stan taking part in this. However, it feels as if Iron Man suffers from super hero malaise. Whenever a character is introduced it’s a new experience from top to bottom, and there is a sense of mystery and discovery. In this movie, following in the trail set by the first film, Iron Man / Stark makes no effort to hide his identity or what his capabilities are. To add some variation we are treated to a new suit, version Mark IV. There are a few cool twists this time around, such as his new suits ability to fold down to convenient carrying size, which in referenced as the football, much like the nuclear football the President totes along. Similarly, when Tony needs to use this watch out, because all that’s when it gets a little crazy. However, it feels like Batman had the market cornered when it comes to gadgets.


Samuel Jackson Making the Iron Man movie, the suit, and the rest of the effects come to life is a huge conglomeration of digital effects teams and individuals. And while visual effects companies like ILM dominate the credits, we still find individual craftsmen like Tony Cope working on the plaster gang to produce physical parts to make this happen. By using real props and costumes when possible allowed for a more realistic feel overall. Stan Winston’s company created the original iconic suits. Since the first movie Stan, an industry legend, passed away, but his former employee Shane Mahan has picked up the ball with his new company, Legacy Effects, which is a tribute to Stan Winston. One of the strong suits carried over from the first movie is the music. This whole movie rocks. The choice of music is anything but subtle. All of the tunes are strong, well known anthems to youth. High energy, pounding songs from AC/DC, The Beastie Boys, The Clash, and Queen are so perfectly in step with the movie. Plus, some great tunes are featured by Daft Punk, Dr. Dre and 2Pac, Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock, and other non-rock choices round this out. A talent in the music industry DJ AM (Adam Goldstein) has a small part in this picture. Unfortunately, after his surviving an airplane crash, Adam sadly didn’t fair so well with his drug use and died prior to the finishing of Iron Man 2. On the bright side, his body of work will be around for long time.


This movie might not fall into the category of what would be considered a classic, yet this is still entertaining. If you do have motor oil running in your veins this will be just a bit more captivating. There are several cars any enthusiast would love to have some seat time in. In particular, the newest Audi sensation, the R8 Spyder, helps to establish Tony Stark not just as a Billionaire, but a guy that likes to take the wheel. If a car is telling of a person’s personality, this would say, rich, sophisticated, dangerously thrilling, and always in control. While Audi does make a strong presence in this adventure, there are a few other notables. Another automotive brand that fits our hero’s character is Rolls-Royce. Rolls plays a supporting role and plays a heavy, but it takes its share of abuse. Of course, it’s nothing that can’t be fixed. Making a cameo is an ultra-rare 1953 Cadillac Ghia Coupe. Rita Hayworth once owned one, and currently the Petersen Automotive Museum houses this remarkable machine. The trim pieces and streamlined styling are very jet age, futuristic looking. Lucky for us Stark was given the love of Motorsports from his dad. So, when Tony takes the wheel behind a vintage race car it doesn’t come as a surprise. But, the racer does take some damage, but not the sort one expects. Knowing full well what the script called for, the production company wisely opted to have Rick Cresse’s Tri-C Engineering team fabricate 17 vintage racers. Besides a long history with hot rods, Rick’s Southern California company has built a successful reputation in fabrication of movie cars. Elon Musk, the man behind the new electric car company Tesla Motors, and the private spacecraft company Space X plays himself in the movie. Elon is indeed a unique creative talent, and has turned his inventive nature into profitable businesses. There is speculation that he is the real life Iron Man, but we have yet to see Elon Musk commuting via a jet pack. The violence, and some language is enough to earn this the coveted PG-13 rating. Making this a PG-13 will make it all the more desirable to the pre-teen set. Any teenager will eat this up as well. The only question left is how large the BO take will be, and how long will we have to wait for IM3?


Director: Jon Favreau Producer: Kevin Feige Executive Producers: Alan Fine, Stan Lee, David Maisel, Denis L. Stewart, Louis D’Esposito, Jon Favreau and Susan Downey CAST Tony Stark - ROBERT DOWNEY JR. Pepper Potts - GWYNETHPALTROW Lt. Col. James “Rhodey” Rhodes - DON CHEADLE Natalie Rushman / Natasha Romanoff - SCARLETT JOHANSSON Justin Hammer - SAM ROCKWELL Ivan Vanko - MICKEY ROURKE Nick Fury - SAMUEL L. JACKSON Senator Stern - GARRY SHANDLING

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